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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Feb 26, 2011 9:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Did Jerry Like The JGB Better Than The GD?

As I recall, Scully wrote that JGB tours were in part a quick way to get more drug money; not that he didn't enjoy them musically, but that was one dynamic at work in scheduling shows. John Kahn was also his partner in heroin use, right? With that in mind, it's interesting how many JGB tours there are in the early 80s, when his habit was escalating. Not counting '80, but then, there were all those acoustic shows that year ... very much a Jerry thing.

(Of course, tons of side work in early 70s, too, but from what I've read Jerry was just constantly wanting to play at that time -- somewhat different dynamics.)

I'm not very familiar with JGB at all, but it's still struck me that '90s JGB has a more "alive" Jerry energy than '90s GD. So maybe the fact that he played with them LESS actually meant he enjoyed it more when he was playing. Who knows ...

IMO, not only should they have taken a break in the 90s, but imagine if they'd done a bunch of acoustic shows. Could have been really refreshing and revitalizing. Just look at the 9/24/94 "Phil and Friends"!

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-02-27 05:07:31

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Feb 27, 2011 12:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Did Jerry Like The JGB Better Than The GD?

There is the theory that the heavy JGB touring of the early '80s was basically for drug money...especially the acoustic shows, since Garcia & Kahn got to split the pay between themselves rather than paying the rest of the band.

Anyway, by the '90s another reason for the reduced JGB tours was that the Dead organization was not happy with Jerry going out with the JGB so much... By that time Jerry had a lot of demands on him and more financial 'business' to take care of with the Dead. But people in the Dead also felt that he was sticking with drug-buddy Kahn & undermining his health when he needed longer breaks, etc.
(Several of them thought Kahn was keeping Jerry on drugs.)

Garcia would announce that the Dead were burnt-out and needed a few months off to rehearse, and then right after a Dead tour he'd go off on a JGB tour...
Of course, to Jerry, a JGB tour WAS the break from a Dead tour. After all, nothing short of a coma would stop him from playing more shows!
I'm sure he felt a lot more personal freedom in the JGB shows - he got to pick all the songs, play all the solos he wanted, everything went the way he wanted, and it was a much more laid-back scene (backstage as well). So playing with the JGB wasn't as tiring for him as doing Dead shows. But it seems his collaborations with Grisman were what excited him the most in the '90s.

By the '90s Jerry definitely felt in a rut with the Dead, and aside from his illnesses may have felt only sporadically engaged with them. Studio rehearsals of their new songs went nowhere due to his lack of interest.

In '91 he said: "We've been running on inertia for quite a long time. Insofar as we have a huge overhead, and we have a lot of people that we're responsible for who work for us...we're reluctant to do anything to disturb that. We don't want to take people's livelihoods away. But...in order to keep doing it, it has to be fun... We're getting a little burned out...so we have to figure out how we are going to make this fun for ourselves... We need a little bit of time to fall back and collect ourselves and rehearse...and come up with some new material. We're aiming for six months off the road...we're all talking about it... We know we need to make some changes."

Of course that never happened; every year the stadium tours were faithfully booked. There's the famous story:
"He wanted to take a break; it was very clear... There was one meeting where they were talking about the stadium tour of '91, and he stopped everybody and said, 'Am I the only one who thinks that stadium shows suck? I don't ever want to play in another stadium. Does anyone else feel the way I feel?' And nobody said anything. But they were trapped: big overhead, big family, dates reserved - who's gonna say, 'Yeah, you're right, let's cancel the stadium tour'?"

John Kahn said:
"I think our band was a refuge for him. The Grateful Dead was so big and took so much of his energy, I think he enjoyed having a place where maybe not so much was demanded of him and he could relax a little but still play music he loved. I think he was a little disillusioned with how big the Dead became, but it's hard to turn that kind of situation around."
[on canceling a JGB show] "He would never ditch a gig in a million years... The Grateful Dead hated me. I'd think they would have liked that we canceled the show for his health...but they should have done that a lot of times in the past. He played Dead gigs where he had to piss in a garbage can on the side of the stage, he was so sick. But they'd never cancel a gig for him."
"Our band was all but finished by the end. We were working very little; he basically wasn't allowed to work with us. That's the impression I got. We were going to do a tour in the fall but it got canceled before it even got booked because Parish and all the Dead people didn't think he should go out with us... It was like he lost interest...our band was headed nowhere. We weren't rehearsing at all, we weren't learning any new songs. He stopped caring, or something...I think he wanted out."

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Poster: hamptoneffect Date: Feb 28, 2011 1:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Did Jerry Like The JGB Better Than The GD?

Regardless what anyone says about trying to get drug money or not, the guy loved to play...as Merle Saunders said after his death when asked about Jerry's addiction, "I only know he was addicted to pickin' " That about sums it up I think...He loved to play and it showed...If i were Jerry I'da played as many JGB shows as i could, name an artist in a headline band that wouldn't go out and tour his own name. Also, there was a time during my run of shows when I'd go to the bathroom during bobby songs, going to JGB meant all Jerry all the time...NOTHIN WRONG WITH THAT

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Poster: Capt. Cook Date: Feb 27, 2011 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Did Jerry Like The JGB Better Than The GD?

Miles Davis in his autobio talks about taking the cash from his gigs in the 50's and driving around the streets of Newark and Harlem looking to score heroin for him and his band each night. The cash flow was a great incentive to perform and the drugs were always available. Charlie Parker and so many others did the same thing. The stories of Jerry having wads of cash stuffed uner the seat of his BMW are of course legendary and have grown to myth status! And Jerry mostly gave his best songs to the GD. Reuben and Cherise performed only 4 times is I think the best of his solo stuff and should have been in the regular GD rotation. Mission In The Rain is another that I wish stuck around...